Russian Tsars Unit Study

Russian Tsars Unit Study


The objective of this unit is to introduce small children to the topic of Russian Tsars and to expose them to new words and concepts.  The outline of the unit:

I – Introduction to Tsars
II – Russian Tsars Math 
III – How to make an Imperial Russian Crown
IV – Story Bag
V – Decorate Matryoshka
VI – What Russian Tsar Ate for Breakfast
VII – Russian Books for Kids
VIII – DIY Faberge Eggs 
I. Introduction to Tsars
You can start by mentioning that the word “tsar” comes from Caesar, the first emperor of Rome or you can simply say that “tsar” means “king.”  You can also mention that “tsar” is a collective term for many different rulers, but they were individuals with different tastes, styles and temperaments.  Some were cruel, others were kind.  Some were dictatorial, others practiced laissez-faire attitude to life. Some were smart, while others were dull.  Etc.  Some things all Tsars had in common:
1. Absolute authority over all people of Russia
2. High education – Tsars were among the most educated people of their times
3. Foreign languages – Most Tsars spoke many foreign languages fluently
4. Love of horses, fine arts and literature
II.  Russian Tsar Math
I like to incorporate a little bit of fun math in everything we do.  I consider math one of the most important subjects, yet in every curriculum we tried it’s one of the most boring.  It doesn’t have to be so!  My goal is to make math a subject that my kids want to master, while preparing their brain for more advanced math concepts.  Do you know that 2012 study from Chicago University found that for some people doing math is similar to “experiencing pain”?  Let’s just hope those people were not homeschooled.  
 III.  How to make an Imperial Russian Crown
It’s always fun to make a crown.  I chose this particular kind because it allowed me to introduce many advanced concepts without even trying.  You will find a full description HERE.  It includes a bit of easy history of crowns, crowns in animal kingdom, the history of the Imperial Russian crown, and how to make one. 
HOW TO instructions HERE

IV. Story Bag

Pick 5 items around the house that your kid(s) think go with the word “Tsar” and put them in a bag. My kids picked:
1. rose
2. pillow
3. book
4. crown
5. stick

We sat in a circle on a carpet (wearing our Russian Crows) and I started the story with, “Long, long ago in a land far away there once lived a Tsar...” And then we took turns taking one item at a time out of a bag and adding to the story.  In our story someone stole tsar’s crown.  He had to consult a wise man who looked in his Book of Wisdom for solution.  Tsar had to walk the world with his walking stick until he found an object that the Wise Man told him to find.  That object was a Rose.  With Rose in his hand Tsar sat on a magic flying pillow, which helped him find his crown and get back to his kingdom.  Kids have wild imagination and a great sense of humor so their stories take unexpected turns and mesmerizing twists.  I always learn something new about my kids by doing story bags with them.

V. Decorate Your own Matryoshka


I found the best template for the matryoshka on a blog called that related how to sew a matryoshka-shaped pillow.  I couldn’t get enough enthusiasm from my kids to start this sewing project, but they were very excited to decorate the paper Matryoshka.  So, here is the template.  Cut it out, put it together and glue the parts, decorate, decorate, decorate…  Or buy some fabric and make a Matryoshka pillow.

Decorate your own Matryoshka Printable here

The good book to read here The Littlest Matryoshka by Corinne Demas Bliss

VI.  What Russian Tsar Ate for Breakfast – full description HERE


Read up background information, pick a menu or use ours, cook some food and enjoy the feast.

VII.  Russia for Kids in Books – HERE is my full post
There are no books about Tsars for small kids but there are some that mention Tsarevitch (Prince) such as The Magic Nesting Doll.  And you can also look at non-fiction books like Chronicle of the Russian Tsars by David Warnes and maybe even Magnificence of the Tsars: Ceremonial men’s dress of the Russian Imperial Court, 1721-1917 by Svetlana Amelekhina.  And if we are moving to the realm of dress I highly recommend to look at the beautiful photography of Russian Elegance: Country and City Fashion from the 15th to the early 20th century by L.V. Yefimova.  And below is my list of books about Russia for small children.  You can find it here.

VIII.  DIY Faberge Eggs – here
Faberge Eggs, also known as Russian Imperial Eggs are fun to make.  Try our easy step-by-step instructions!


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